By Jeremy Pittari, Item Staff Writer
The Picayune Item
An employee of a local car dealership has been charged with embezzling thousands of dollars from the business.
Picayune Police Department Assistant to the Chief of Police Jeremy Magri said the investigation began on Jan. 1, when the department received a call that an employee had possibly stolen money from the business.
The investigation found that apparently a salesman at the business sold a used car to a woman for $4,000 cash on Dec. 21, but by the following Wednesday the accounting department had not received the file on the sale from the finance manager, Magri said.
Apparently the finance manager, 36-year-old Lee Patrick Palmer of 831 Cedar Lake Rd., Biloxi, had made changes to the file pertaining to the method of payment on the sale of the vehicle. Magri said the sales manager attempted to meet with Palmer to discuss the changes to the file, but Palmer never showed for the meeting nor for work the next day.
As the investigation continued, it appeared that instead of filing the sale of the vehicle as a cash sale, Palmer destroyed records of the cash sale and created falsified documents with a false lien holder and forged signatures to make it appear as though the purchaser had taken out a loan, Magri said.
Charges were filed against Palmer by the business and a warrant was issued for his arrest. Magri said Palmer was arrested on Tuesday by the D’Iberville Police Department on the embezzlement warrant and he was picked up by the Picayune Police Department two days later. The investigation continues and could lead to additional charges, Magri said.